The rate at which coronavirus is proliferating in Africa is very high. Following this surge in figures over the past few weeks, many including experts are proposing a total lockdown as the best ever solution to help tame the virus.
Their concerns may, however, be genuine medically but they failed to consider social factors that may end up creating a whole different problem(s) in our attempt to solve one. A total lockdown means, almost every business activity will come to a standstill.
However, the reality on the ground is that many Africans are already living below the poverty line with many working from hand to mouth.
Restricting business activities and movement will stop the source of revenue for majority of these people who are mostly breadwinners. This will worsen their situation. Moreover, our respective governments do not have the financial muscles to fund a daily allowance for their populace like the ‘developed’ countries are doing for their citizens.
Consequently, the lack of basic necessities like food, water, clothing, etc coupled with a neglect by the government could trigger the survival instincts of every human being. Those who do not have and cannot cope with the stress may be forced out to take from those they perceive as rich and having in abundance.
Countries that have already started the lockdown like Uganda, for instance, are having hard time controlling people who want to go out and do something for survival.
We need to have a general conversation on our situation and tailor a solution to suit the African setting. Else, we may end up plundering this continent into a state of disorder. We need to copy wisely.